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Dream Chaser The Showbiz: NetEase Games’ RPG has been accused of breaching user privacy

Players fear that their facial data was used to train an AI program!

Dream Chaser: The Showbiz is a mobile game in which players assume the role of celebrities in the virtual world. Players are allowed to make various expressions, according to text prompts, and then the game’s AI takes the data of the real-life expressions to game characters in real-time. NetEase‘s Fuxi Lab has worked on the game’s development. In the latest revelation, the developers of the game have denied a recent report suspecting its role in publishing a paper in the US, which contains user data. The developers of Dream Chaser: The Showbiz along with a reputed company named NetEase Games are in midst of serious controversy, due to the breach of user privacy.

Dream Chaser The Showbiz: Release and the origin of the controversy

Fuxi Lab was launched by NetEase Games in September 2017 to widen their horizons by innovating game experience with AI. On the 4th of December, 2021, the tech giant announced its next generation of Internet technology architecture for the metaverse.  Fuxi Lab has played an important role in it, by developing their virtual character software development kit Youling and the immersion activity system named “Yaotai”.

Players around the internet got suspicious, due to the activities of the programmer. The programmer was involved in AI programming.  Players’ suspicions started after the programmer had won the championship for detection of facial expressions and facial emotion recognition at the CVPR (Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition).

Dream Chaser The Showbiz NetEase Games user privacy
Image via NetEase Games

Details of the programmer’s work showed that similar technology was implemented in the game as well. This announcement got players worried because according to them, their facial data from the game were used to train the AI program at CVPR. Soon after this, hundreds of players became aggressive and posted on Weibo, questioning whether the development team of Dream Chaser: The Showbiz had illegally misused their personal data and breached their privacy.

Response from NetEase Games to the controversy

NetEase Games had responded by releasing a statement on the 17th of April, 2022, where they said that all data sources in the relevant papers published in CVPR in 2021 and 2022 were public data and did not involve data from gamers. The company got into great detail when they outlined the data sources used in the publication. CVPR is a top conference in the field of computer vision and pattern recognition organized by IEEE.

A game official additionally said that they have strict internal regulations on information and privacy protection which they care deeply about. They have further said that they cannot use the collected user information without their authorization.

However, the scenario is far from being resolved. NetEase Games will have to really work its way out of this controversy to protect its reputation. The only way to do so is by proving to the players, that user data collected by the company can be in no way used without users’ consent.

What are your thoughts on NetEase Games getting accused of breaching user privacy, due to their game, Dream Chaser The Showbiz? Let us know in the comments below.

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